Let’s be honest. We all have egos. Whatever your own personal groove is we generally all want to be the best. Pushing self and machine to the breaking point is mandatory for most racers. Thus was the case at the recent RaptoberX event in Austin Texas.
A timed racing event is a place that lends itself well to decisions that can be on the edge of a bad outcome. When a clock and direct competition get involved people can change a bit. The mildest mannered person all of the sudden becomes just that little bit more daring. Racer Robert Bock explained that “ We all love the timed event. It means you get to talk smack about your time and position. It usually goes on for years. My friend Tim and I have kind of a standing $100 bet.”
These kinds of good-natured harassment of one another are commonplace. They also tend to push each individual to maximize each moment on the track. Time would tell who would have bragging rights this year.
One thing was for sure at the end of the second day of racing, two vehicles had found their way into the trees and the resulting damage was substantial. Thanks to the strict safety rules and required equipment of the event no one was injured. The risk of what can result from just one bad decision did give some participants a moment of pause.
Other contestants expressed that a reminder of what is really important is a good thing. Many brought daily driven vehicles to the race and needed to also drive them home. There was a reality that participation in a race event like this is a willingness and ability to gamble. The gamble on a participant’s own driving skills was a thrill to some. For others, it was a wake-up call. In either case, the staff at the event handled it all with ease.
Trey Palreiro and his crew at Texas Raptor Runs (TRR) seek to provide an opportunity for strong personalities to go for the gusto. They organize and provide various events throughout the year. These opportunities allow owners of prerunner style trucks to let loose. While several events are available throughout the year Raptober X is special. The special nature of this particular event comes from the fact that it is most definitely a race. On other occasions put on by Trey and his crew the fact that it is not a race is emphasized. This time egos flare as engines roar and participants fight for the best time.
We had the opportunity to travel to the Rally Ready Ranch and view all the action. The ranch is located in Dale Texas. Once on the ranch, we observed ranch owner Dave Carpetayan provide a heck of a track for everyone to stretch their legs as well as race against the clock. When Dave isn’t teaching the next generation of rally-style drivers he is dreaming up new and inventive ways to send anything with wheels. That attention to detail came through during laps and all of the drivers repeatedly verbalized an appreciation for how good and technical the track was.
The race course consisted of approximately two miles of twists, turns, and hills all mostly located in tight wooded trails. The nature of the track created a situation where drivers had to be technically proficient as well as fast. Pushing too hard could result in the driver wrecking his vehicle into a tree.
At the same time being too cautious would result in a slow time that would win no victory or bragging rights. A balance between technical proficiency and a willingness to push to the edge yielded the best track times. For participants not interested in the timed portion of the weekend’s festivities a second track was also available for off-road fun.
In addition to the outstanding track conditions, primitive camping was available for all participants and their families. Events put on by both Texas Raptor Runs and The Rally Ready Ranch are always family-friendly. Most racers chose to bring campers and the infield provided abundant opportunities for community and storytelling during the evenings. Some participants even braved the zombies in the woods to benefit the Rally Ready Ranches’ attached dog rescue Rally Rescue. For a small fee, UTV rides were provided with professional drivers around the one hundred plus acres during the dark hours. Rides featured laser tag style guns and zombie targets throughout the woods. Who doesn’t want to shoot laser guns and save dogs at the same time right?
From The Horses Mouth
By Saturday morning the track was overrun, not with zombies, but with racers ready to send it. Robert ended up with a third place finish at two minutes and fourteen seconds, after leading for the vast majority of the day. He shared that; “Everyone, including Trey and all the timing folks thought I had first. Everyone’s times were way slower all day. Those two dudes pulled that out of their butts! Hats off to those dudes. This event was awesome. The short track was way fast. Everyone was using it. The timed track stayed good all day long. I loved the course. The technical aspect of it, going in and out of the trees, the tightness of it, and the smoothness were all really amazing. The track was tacky when we started, and just got faster as the day went.”
Frequent Texas Raptor Run event attendee Craig Rouse shared his thoughts as well. He said, “I like the location of Raptor X and that it’s not a rock covered trail.
My favorite part is the camaraderie amongst everyone. No one is a stranger. Even if it’s their first time coming. Also if anyone needs something there are always half a dozen helpful hands.” Plenty of heavy equipment is available for any mishaps and they did not stay idle due to the previously mentioned calamities.
Racer Justin Wehmeyer, the owner of the event sponsor Texas Shock Works, couldn’t have been happier with how his weekend went. He stated that “ My first event was Raptoberfest 2016, when my truck was completely stock. I have been to seven Texas Raptor Run events since.” He definitely loves the people and the strong camaraderie at the events. Justin explained that, “This event is like none other. You never meet a stranger. I also love the track. It’s amazing and the location, you can’t beat. The whole thing takes place right outside Austin!”
More Than Just A Contest
While making the best time and getting a trophy is fun, this event was not just about that. In fact, our experience has been that most gatherings don’t last very long if they are one dimensional. Instead, an added dimension includes the community aspect of what this kind of occasion creates. The camping area is a perfect place to observe this after a hard day of racing.
Justin shared that; “My wife goes to most events with me. We always bring an RV and stay for the weekend. The sense of community with others at the event is what keeps us coming back. It’s a very unique thing. Where else can you take your daily driver and do a couple hundred miles off-road jumping and testing your truck? Then you get to hop back on the freeway and head home. I have met so many friends from coming to Texas Raptor Run events.”
Participant Mike Cargol couldn’t agree more and stated that “Trey and his team at TRR work hard to provide Raptor owners like my wife and me with these unique opportunities to run our trucks. They also provide us with the opportunity to socialize with other owners in the Raptor community.” Mike added, “Overall we really enjoyed the event and will be signing up for the next one.”
Robert feels the same way, “Trey runs a very well organized event. The conversation and friendships that have happened in camp bring me back. In the past I have even driven to an event to just hang out.” That, of course, says a lot about the organizers, participants, and the whole experience. If you are ever in the area and need an opportunity to send it you should definitely check out Texas Raptor Runs.